Monday, April 03, 2006

A ridiculously modest proposal

Here's a few ideas I'm offering up for the dialogue on immigration reform.

1. Guest worker policies don't work. Next.

2.Congress: We have a problem with too many illegal immigrants.
Me: Why do they come here?
Congress: Because our jobs pay better than jobs in Mexico.
Me: Is it illegal for American employers to hire illegal immigrants?
Congress: Why yes, it is.
Me: Do we ever bust them for doing it?
Congress: No, not really.
Me: Well, jeez, that might be a good place to start, huh?

3. I do not believe in "jobs Americans won't do." BULL-SHIT. First of all, I've worked in many restaurants and bars in my day, and every single one of them had illegal workers on the payroll. Every. Single. One. And not once did any place of employment I've ever worked in have one visit ever from immigration or labor officials. Never. Not once.

Employers hire illegal immigrants because they can, because law enforcement looks the other way. If the couldn't do this anymore, then they would be forced to hire Americans. And you know what? They'd find that, surprise, surprise, there are plenty of Americans who would be quite willing to do those jobs.

In unionized and large chain restaurants and hotels, for example, it is difficult to get away with hiring illegal workers. And so somehow they manage to find an American who is willing to make beds or chop vegetables for the wage they are offering.

How do they do it? How do they keep those workers from finding out they are doing jobs "Americans won't do"?

What we can't do, what would be clearly morally reprehensible, is to allow American employers to prosper by using illegal workers, and then deny those same workers health care, and schooling for their children, and driver's licenses, and all the other things that working people in America have the opportunity to get.

2 comments:

Jess said...

When they talked about "jobs Americans wouldn't do", I assumed they meant more of the strawberry picking-type stuff and factory assembly-line stuff. As opposed to busing tables.

vikkitikkitavi said...

I spoke from my own personal experience with illegal workers, but I think the concept applies to any job. How, exactly, do they know that Americans won't do certain jobs? Is it because they refuse to pay the required minimum wage and so have no other choice but to pay illegal wages to illegal workers who can't complain?

My point was that all they have to say, apparently, is the words "jobs Americans won't do" and we all nod our heads like this has been established somehow. It's bullshit.